For as complex as bids, tenders and proposals can be, in essence they require just one simple element; an answer to the question posed by the assessor.
However, all too often bid writers don’t answer the question because they approach sales writing from a technical perspective.
Instead, put yourself in the assessor’s position and start from their perspective and you can’t go wrong.
Why do your bid, tender and proposal writers produce generic responses time after time?
Responses that frankly turn-off the assessor, attract low marks and lose you the business.
There are three main reasons:
- Most bid writers never read the questions; they look for familiar words and phrases. Words and phrases that then become a pretext for recycling old text from past submissions.
- They hate writing and are terrified of the blank sheet of paper and so put off starting as long as possible. By the time they do start they are already past the internal deadline and so cut-and-paste seems the only way out.
- They stay within their comfort zones and so they conclude the question is asking about this or that technical issue and find they have standard cut and paste responses about this or that issue. If the only tool I have is a hammer, everything is a nail.
So what can you do to make sure you answer the question?
Start by putting yourself in the assessor’s place. You have to score a response to a question against a scoring scheme.
Where would you start?
You would read the question and highlight the main words and phrases at the heart of the question. You would do the same for the scoring scheme.
You would then read the response searching for these highlighted words and phrases. If you found them you would assume the responses had answered the question and a high score was in order.
You would then carefully read the sentences that directly follow, to decide how high a score.
If you didn’t find those words and phrases you would assume the responses hadn’t answered the question and a low score was in order.
Planning a brilliant response that answers the question is really simple:
- Read the question and the scoring scheme from the assessor’s perspective
- With a highlighter pen pick out the key words and phrases
- Use these words and phrases to create your writing plan
- Give a word count to each section
You now have put in place the foundation for a high-scoring response that will answer the question in a transparent, straightforward and easy-to-follow way.
Once you achieve that in your submissions, you’ll find that your chances of winning the business increase significantly.